Herschel Says Nighty Night

Herschel Says Nighty Night

Herschel and Aquila fullwidth.jpg

The European Space Agency's far infrared telescope has closed it's eyes to the heavens. This magnificent space craft has used up all of it's liquid helium. The liquid helium was used to cool the instruments to near absolute zero so that the telescope could detect the far infrared. Being able to detect this has meant that the Herschel telescope has provided some incredible new findings on star birth in it's earliest stages. Being able to detect the core of protostars as they form when they are only a few degrees above absolute zero.

Although, the space craft can no longer collect more data the data it has already collected will keep astronomers busy for many more years to come. It amassed over 35,000 scientific observations during it's operation time.

The image above from the ESA shows an image of a stellar nursery in Aquila. The image was created using data from the Herschel space observatory. It contains around 600 newly forming stars and is illuminated by 3 young massive stars.

Credits: ESA and SPIRE & PACS consortia, Ph. André (CEA Saclay) for Gould’s Belt Key Programme Consortia

source: ESA

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